Lucy Knapp

March 8 is International Women’s Day, a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. Each year on that day, thousands of events are held throughout the world to inspire women and celebrate their achievements. I can sense what you’re thinking: “International Women’s Day? Isn’t that some fake holiday invented by third-wave feminists?” No – it’s not a “fake holiday.” And it predates third-wave feminism, second-wave feminism and universal suffrage. It was a surprise to discover what a long history IWD has: It was first celebrated as National Women’s Day in the US on February 28, 1909 – following a declaration by the Socialist Party of America.

In 1910, an International Women’s Conference at the meeting of the Second International in Copenhagen proposed organizing International Woman’s Day as a tactic to promote equal rights for women. The following year, 1911, International Women’s Day was celebrated for the first time, by people in Germany, Switzerland, and the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It became an official holiday in the Soviet Union following the Russian Revolution in 1917 and from then on, the holiday was mostly celebrated in Eastern-Bloc and other socialist countries. International Women's Day was finally observed in the west, after 1977 when the United Nations General Assembly invited member states to proclaim March 8 as the UN Day for Women's Rights and World Peace.

The theme for the 2017 International Women’s Day is #BeBoldForChange and the IWD website (www.internationalwomensday. com) explicitly asks the question, “What if the world truly stepped up to take bold action?” Their mission is women-centered so they state “Each one of us - with women, men and non-binary people joining forces - can be a leader within our own spheres of influence by taking bold pragmatic action to accelerate gender parity. Through purposeful collaboration, we can help women advance and unleash the limitless potential offered to economies the world over.” However, taking bold action does not need to be only about women’s issues. What if everyone who cared deeply about any inequity or injustice—whether it is healthcare disparities, animal welfare, child abuse, theocratic oppression, war or the myriad other problems in the world—took bold action?